Rapid prototyping and refinement is one of the primary benefits 3D printing provides for entrepreneurs. For example, 3D printing played a key role for a UK startup by producing a prototype of its wireless headphones that helped win funding and recognition in the recent “Pitch to Rich” competition.
Audiowings is a headphone that synchs directly with online music services like Spotify so that users don’t have to bother with traditional headphone cables. The company approached product development firm Ignitec to develop its initial prototypes.
“When we were first approached with the concept of Audiowings and briefed on its prototyping requirements, we instantly knew that 3D printing would be the answer,” said Ben Mazur, Director of Ignitec.
The company used a Stratasys Objet30 Pro 3D Printer to create the prototype headphones. According to Mazur, the technology has helped the company improve service to its clients by speeding up the prototyping process.
“Since introducing Stratasys 3D printing into our work flow, we have cut our finishing time by more than 50% due to the reduction of support material removal required compared to our previous SLA system,” Mazur said. “We have also seen a surge in client interest due to the fact that we can now produce prototype parts with a short turnaround time, while retaining the highest quality and remaining cost effective. Being able to offer end-use parts prior to manufacturing is something which is very valuable to our clients and takes away a lot of risk and guess work.”
The 3D printed prototype was entered in the “Pitch to Rich” 2014 competition sponsored by Richard Branson. Audiowings won the “People’s Award” in the competition, voted for by live viewers of the streaming pitch event in the spring.
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